• YMCA swimming lessons provide water safety skills for children of all ages.
  • Please note the centre will close at 6pm on Saturday 30th June and the pools will close 15 minutes before the centre does.

Meet the staff

Our people are the key to our success.

Aquarena has developed its wonderful reputation throughout the Manningham community and the fitness industry as a whole not only because of its standard of facilities and services but also because of the friendliness, skills, experience and knowledge of its dedicated staff team.

Employing over 200 fulltime, part-time and casual staff committed to delivering the best possible outcomes for centre users Aquarena's ongoing success has been largely because of its people. Please take a moment to familiarise yourself with the dedicated management team.

Group Management Team

Michele Rowse, Chief Executive Officer

Michele is a mum to three rambunctious boys and grew up attending YMCA holiday programs and camps. Seeing the powerful impact that the YMCA has on local communities has been the driving force in Michele joining the YMCA Victoria Board in 2015 and then joining YMCA Manningham in 2017.

Michele is a management professional with extensive experience in the health, wellness, fitness, accommodation, childcare, property and aquatics industries. With over 20 years' experience, Michele has established leading customer centric programs, workplace culture improvements, and program management offices. She has led large-scale projects, directing both local and international teams to successful outcomes, including rebrands and design redevelopment of global brands. Experience on boards both in the health and education industries has further established Michele as a leader focused on community outcomes. Michele's expertise extends to strategic planning, communications, digital strategies, operations and client services for a range of businesses.

"We believe in the power of inspired young people" is a belief Michele lives every day and is excited about how YMCA Manningham can continue to work with small children through to the older generations to create a healthy, active and inspired Manningham community.

Damien Ear, Group Finance Manager

Damien has been employed with the YMCA since 1988 and was the inaugural finance director for Aquarena. As a result of this consistency, Damien's knowledge and assistance has ensured significant growth in the financial systems necessary to control a business operation that now has a turn over of $4m per annum. With the recent growth and diversification by Manningham YMCA into a range of other business activities. 

Damien is very well respected by both Manningham YMCA personnel and his fellow financial peers as a caring and honest leader who is committed to the mission and values of the YMCA. Married with two children, Damien enjoys a work environment that is centred on community involvement rather than the harshness of the corporate financial sector.

Fiona Miller, Group Administration Manager

Fiona has worked in the health and fitness industry since 1989 and loves the smell of chlorine in the morning. She has worked at Aquarena since the day the centre opened in 1992, starting as a casual receptionist and finds it much easier to speak to people who are wearing bathers or tracksuits rather than suits and heels. Fiona oversees general administration, member billing, customer service and IT. She has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne, and Bachelor and Master Degrees in Education from Deakin University. In 2002 she completed a Diploma of Recreation and in 2007 she completed the Certified Customer Service Managers Course (Dip. Bus. CCSM).

Fiona is tremendously excited about the current redevelopments at Aquarena and can't wait until they are finished. In her spare time Fiona enjoys reading, binge-watching TV series and sometimes getting lost during street orienteering.

Centre Management Team

Dan Andrews, Centre Manager

Dan has spent over 15 years working within the fitness and leisure industry. Starting out as a successful personal trainer Dan quickly moved into management through his passion to have more of an impact on people's lives. Throughout his time in the industry Dan has had a strong focus on creating and leading high performing teams that allow the delivery of quality programs to cater for a wide range of people within the community. Dan believes that keeping up to date with industry trends along with understanding the needs of the customer and creating a non-intimidating environment are crucial in delivering exceptional customer service. Dan has been integral to the start-up and management of a number of large facilities in Australia including Virgin Active Bourke Street, Virgin Active Pitt Street and Peninsula Aquatic Recreation Centre.

Lisa Gates, Operations Manager

Lisa is responsible for all operations at Aquarena, including overseeing the management of the lifeguard team and pool.  Lisa has been with the YMCA since 1999 and in this time has gained experience working as an Aquatic Education teacher, Lifeguard and Centre Supervisor. She also assists our Group Operations Manager in building maintenance, centre cleaning and pool maintenance.  Lisa previously worked in the training department of a major bank. Her passion for health and fitness involves many outdoor sports, including surf lifesaving.

Sandra Stelfox, Customer Care Manager

Sandra is responsible for all the support services at Aquarena. As the Support Service Director she is responsible for overseeing the management, recruitment, training and supervision of the reception, cafe and childcare teams, as well as overseeing merchandise, member relations and administration. Sandra has been with Manningham YMCA since 2011 and in this time has gained experience working as a Receptionist, Centre Supervisor and Frontline Team Leader. She prides herself on being an inspiring role model for her teams and has created a positive environment where staff are motivated and committed to provide outstanding customer service to Aquarena members and guests. Sandra has a degree in Nutrition from La Trobe University and hopes to one day combine this qualification with her passion for health and fitness to teach people how to live healthier lifestyles.

Vivian Patsis, Childcare Team Leader

Vivian has been the second in charge at Aquarena for 10 years.  She has been promoted to Team Leader in 2017. She is responsible for the management, recruitment  and supervision of the childcare centre educators and for providing a safe and high quality education and care program for all children attending our facility. Vivian has worked in childcare for a period of 20 years and has completed a Diploma in Children Services (centre based care) and holds a Bachelor in Early Childhood Studies from Monash University. Vivian is the Primary Nominee of the Aquarena Childcare Centre which means is the responsible person of the childcare centre.

Paul Manuel, Personal Training Team Leader

Paul holds a certificate 3/4 in fitness and personal training along with a passion and zest for everything fitness. He has been a fully accredited gym instructor and personal trainer for a number of years. During this time, Paul has worked at various fitness centres as well as running his own successful personal training business. A 'people person', Paul takes great pride in his position as Aquarena's Personal Training Team Leader. He is also a member of the centres group exercise team in which he enthusiastically instructs boxing, HIIT and core conditioning; each of which are very well frequented. Paul is highly motivated and thrives on helping people to achieve their individual fitness goals. He prides himself on providing variety in his sessions and ensuring that each work out is challenging yet fun. On a personal level Paul has run a number of marathons, has played football for many years and works hard to maintain his own health and fitness. His philosophy of "your health is your wealth" is made evident through his ability to motivate, inspire and bring out the best in all that work with him.

Kayte Kitchen, Group Exercise Team Leader

Kayte is responsible for the development and promotion of all group exercise programs. She recruits, evaluates and schedules the staff of over 40 instructors. In addition to managing the area, Kayte is a Physical Activity Australia accredited Group Exercise and Fitness Instructor and is currently one of our Pryme program instructors. She has been teaching group exercise classes all over Melbourne since 1995 and her passion for seeing people enjoy the benefits of regular exercise hasn't diminished.

Carol Edmeades, Pryme Movers Team Leader

Carol has been employed by the YMCA since 1982 when she began work as a dance instructor. Her focus changed to older adults after realizing the huge need for exercise and education in this growing age group. She has instructed calisthenitcs, jazz dance and group exercise classes for over 48 years now and has had an influence on many people over her rewarding career. Carol overseas the development of all programming and social events for Pryme Movers and mentors all new group fitness instructors who join the team. Her passion is to see the many older adults in Manningham come to realize that exercise in our older adult classes can be heaps of fun while still keeping healthy, vital, independant and well.

Yuriy Burunov, Head Coach & Aquatic Fitness Team Leader

Yuriy Burunov is a former competitive swimmer who has achieved State, National and International ranking. He has represented Australia at the 2009 Maccabiah Games.

Yuriy began teaching swimming in 2009 and soon became a junior coach at Nunawading Swimming Club. During his time at NSC, Yuriy managed the Yarra Valley Grammar swimming program, as well as coaching the schools swim team. Whilst at Nunawading, Yuriy was coached by and worked alongside many great coaches, including Nick Valiades, Dean Bryant, Amanda Isaac, Rohan Taylor and Gary Barclay.

As his next challenge Yuriy took on an assistant coach position at Loreto Aquatic. During his four years in this role he was mentored by Australia's best - Leigh Nugent. In his time there, he has developed swimmers from junior level through to state level swimmers, state finalists and medallists to national level swimmers.

After his success at Loreto Aquatic, Yuriy has decided to take on the role of Head Coach at Doncaster Templestowe Swimming Club and Aquarena. He looks forward to working closely with the swimmers, coaches and Aquarena team to help DTSC achieve its full potential.

Bianca Austerberry, Aquatics Manager

Bianca has been swim teaching for the YMCA for over 5 years. Whilst enjoying school aged teaching, Bianca's main area of experience is with infant, preschool and additional needs instruction. Prior to becoming a swim teacher, Bianca has 15 years office administration experience, including certificates in office administration and book keeping. Bianca joined Aquarena in 2016 and ensures all participants within the YMCA swimming lessons program at Aquarena are gaining swimming and water safety skills and progressing within the program. By providing support, guidance and advice to teachers, students and families Bianca's goal is to see all participants within the program gain valuable life skills in aquatic environments. It's Bianca belief that in order for children to gain swimming and water safety skills they need to want to come to their lessons; it is therefore a key focus that our participants be given a fun, safe and nurturing place to gain their confidence and enjoyment of the water along with their aquatic skills.